For the first time in my experience, Formby Parish Council members have been unable to agree the precept for the following year, in this case 2011/12.
The resolution before the Council was:
“The Precept for 2011/12 is recommended to remain at £40,000. The Finance Committee have noted the comments of Councillors made at the November Parish Council meeting. They consider the precept should remain unchanged for the coming financial year until the position on our Parish Plan obligations/project plans are fully assessed.”
As it's implied above, when the proposal came before the Council in November the matter was referred back to the Finance Committee. Despite the outcome of those discussions, at last night's meeting members were still unable to agree support for the resolution above and have agreed to continue the debate.
At the heart of the matter is the question of cuts in services, which will occur when Sefton MBC agrees it's budget in March next year. The debate revolves around the question of, 'waiting to see the outcome of Sefton's deliberations and then possibly raising the precept for the year 2012/13'' or 'putting in place a small increase in the precept to ease the transition to a more austere provision by Sefton' and trying to ameliorate the immediate impact of the cuts'.
Everyone on the Parish Council agrees that any rise will have to be small, but by way of example, a rise of £1 per house per year, would yield approximately £9500 extra added to the annual budget.
What do you think? Should the Parish Council raise the precept by a small rise? The rise, for example, would enable the Parish Council to support the Christmas Lights event, the FormbyLive Music event and Dickensian Day, all of which it is anticipated will lose support from Sefton next year. Some residents may have other priorites and cuts in library services or personal services may be considered more important than the examples given. But it all boils down to the question should we take precautions in advance or wait until this time next year before we respond?
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